Summary: Not incredibly interesting, but not irrepressibly drab 'n' awful.
WARNING: The following post may contain spoilers concerning this week's TNG episode, "The Hunted". Those not wishing advance plot details should remain well clear. Honest. There be spoilers present.
Anyway... I might not have been quite so disappointed with this, if I hadn't just been coming off the high of "The Defector". As it is, though, I found this story to be primarily much ado about nothing. However, that won't stop me from presenting a synopsis, albeit a short-ish one:
The Enterprise is in orbit around a planet, Akosha something-or-other, whose inhabitants have recently applied for Federation membership. They have been completely at peace since some wars which, it is implied, were a ways back, and seem to be suitable candidates for membership (if, in Riker's eyes,"a bit too stuffy for my tastes", though he was referring to the buildings). The problem: while the away team's down on the surface, a prisoner escapes from the penal colony on Lunar 5. The Enterprise, in answer to the Prime Minister's request, tries to catch the small transport ship the prisoner commandeered.
Initially, they fail (the prisoner's an extremely crafty fellow), but eventually, they beam him on board. Not that he's any easier to handle there; it takes a great deal of effort, time, and men to bring him down so that he can be put in detention. From there, we (and they) discover the details of Dehnar's (sp?) crime. It seems that he was a soldier in those same wars mentioned earlier. He was a volunteer, not knowing the treatment he was in for. He was psychologically conditioned and chemically altered to be the perfect soldier. However, when the wars were over and the soldiers brought home, they had no place in "civilized" society. In Troi's words, "He fought to preserve the Akoshan lifestyle, but he didn't realize that to do it, he had to give up that lifestyle--forever." Lunar 5 was where all the old soldiers were put to quietly while away their lives.
Once that's discovered, unfortunately, there's not much more to the plot. Dehnar escapes while the Enterprise tries to transport him over to the Akoshan ship, uses every trick in the book (_any_ book) to remain free, and eventually manages to hijack the prison ship. He then attacks the penal colony and frees many of his fellow prisoners. The Prime Minister calls Picard in a panic, saying that the prisoners are heading for the capital city. Picard and an away team beam down, but beam up with the situation still unresolved. As they leave, it looks like a peaceful solution may be found (and maybe the effects of the treatment can be reversed).
Well, that's as much of a synopsis as I'm prepared to give. The salient details of Dehnar's various tactics aren't really worth going into, so I shan't. I suppose it's time to move on to some comments, then: I had somewhat mixed feelings about the show. Sure, it was entertaining, but I tend to expect something a little more interesting. The storyline of the war-weary soldier coming home to an unwelcome country has been done to death, from lots of old war movies, to "First Blood" and its ilk, to "Born on the Fourth of July" (if obliquely, as it appears from the ads). And the medically created superior fighter isn't exactly new, either: just look at "Robocop", "Rocky IV", or any issue of "Captain America" in the past fifty years. :-) So, original this was not.
Nor was it all that interesting. It had its moments, to be sure: part of Dehnar's new physiology repels electronic signals, so sensors can't pick him up. That made for several interesting scenes. And, yes, it was somewhat exciting to watch the different attempts to catch Dehnar, with its somewhat predictable results. However, it just didn't hold my interest for very long. There was really no new character insight to be gained, either. Troi's concerned about a prisoner--ho, hum. Data claims to have no feelings--again, ho, and a resounding HUM. Everything was just very lukewarm. There's not much in the way of specific problems I can give (though I do have one--see the next paragraph), but nothing was particularly well done, either.
My one specific gripe is this: Why was Worf leading the search? "Well, he's Chief of Security.", I hear you say. That, to me, means he should have been the one coordinating the search: giving orders, keeping tabs on where Dehnar definitely wasn't, and so forth. Instead, we had Picard coordinating the search plans, and Worf stalking around with his team. Not necessarily a grave error, but definitely not what I would have done.
Well, I've really nothing more to say, except hand down some numbers.
Plot: 5. No major flaws, but woefully unoriginal.
Plot Handling: 7. They did make the most of the suspenseful moments.
Characterization: 5. Adequate, but no more.
Technical: 7. Not bad, though not great.
TOTAL: 6 even. Better luck next time, guys. Next Week: A rerun, of "Booby Trap", so all those tired asteroid field arguments can start up again. Joy. Rapture.
Tim Lynch (Cornell's first Astronomy Major)
- "The soldier came knocking upon the queen's door..."
- --Suzanne Vega
Copyright 1990, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask... Copyright 1994, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask. This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any off-net compilation without due attribution and *express written consent of the author*. Walnut Creek and other CD-ROM distributors, take note.